Hundreds of Pakistan People's Party (PPP) workers organised demonstrations across the country's most populous province of Punjab to protest the assassination of Governor Salmaan Taseer by one of his guards. The PPP workers took to the streets in provincial capital, Lahore and other cities and towns of the province and condemned the murder of Taseer, who was gunned down by the guard in a market in the heart of Islamabad.
All major markets of Lahore closed soon after news of the Governor's death. A large number of charged PPP workers gathered outside the Governor’s House and burnt tyres.
The workers shouted slogans against former premier and PML (N) chief Nawaz Sharif and Punjab Chief Minister, Shahbaz Sharif and held them responsible for the murder. They also shouted slogans against provincial Law Minister Rana Sanaullah, alleging he had prompted religious fanatics to kill the Governor.
PPP leader Raja Riaz, a senior minister in the PML (N)led government in Punjab, said: "We ask the Punjab government as to why it did not scrutinise the particulars of the Elite Force guard who opened fire on Taseer."
PPP workers wanted answers from the Punjab government, he said. The Sharif brothers and Sanaullah, who has been under a cloud for his public association with leaders of the banned Sipah-e-Sahaba, were among the most vocal critics of Taseer. The guard who shot Taseer told the media he had acted because of the Governor's opposition to a controversial blasphemy law.
Religious hardliners have launched a nationwide campaign to oppose any move to repeal or amend the law. In the wake of protests and closure of markets and commercial hubs across the province, the Punjab government announced a public holiday tomorrow.